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2020 National Directors Fellowships Announced

Adam M. Kassim, Kholoud Sawaf, Blayze Teicher, and Sharifa Yasmin are this year’s virtual fellows.

WATERFORD, CONN.: The Eugene O’Neill Theater CenterNational New Play Networkthe Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation have jointly announced the 2020 National Directors Fellowship recipients. This year’s fellows are Adam M. Kassim, Kholoud Sawaf, Blayze Teicher, and Sharifa Yasmin.

The 18-month program connects early-career directors to new writers and provides professional support services. The fellowship, which usually kicks off as part of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center summer season, will be held online this year. The program will begin in July with the National Playwrights Conference & Workshops. As part of the virtual program, fellows with attend a Kennedy Center and NNPN MFA workshop; hold meetings with the Kennedy Center, NNPN, and D.C. theatres; attend the NNPN National Showcase of New Plays; participate in the O’Neill Winter Symposium; and complete directing projects with NNPN member theatres.

Adam M. Kassim.

Kassim (he/him/his) is a theatre director, educator, and arts leader. He has a love for new-play development and a passion for exploring stories that bravely investigate the messiness of the human condition. Directing credits include: The Honey Trap and Dead House (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); And Baby Makes Seven (Lincoln Square Theatre); Agamemnon, Mrs. Packard, In the Heart of America, Ghosts, and The Europeans (Boston University School of Theatre). Kassim has served as an assistant director at New Repertory Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, and the Opera Institute at BU. Most recently, Adam had the privilege of collaborating with Kirsten Greenidge on the continued development of her play, Little Row Boat; Or, Conjecture. Upcoming projects: Doubt (New Repertory Theatre, Spring 2021). MFA: Boston University. SDC Associate. www.adamkassim.com

Kholoud Sawaf.

Sawaf was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. She has worked and trained in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the United States. Recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, T.Y.A), Vietgone, and 10,000 Balconies (TheatreSquared). 10,000 Balconies was conceived, written, and directed by Sawaf after she received a $250,000 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. A recipient of the Classical Directing Fellowship from the Drama League in New York, she collaborated with Tina Packer at Shakespeare & Company on Cymbeline. At the Manhattan Theatre Club (as a Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow) and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (as part of the FAIR Program), she was the assistant director of Vietgone, both under the direction of May Adrales. Currently, she is co-devising and co-directing Curbside Theatre in collaboration with ARKANSASTAGED ensemble, while also collaborating with playwright Joe Claroco and actor/educator Mohamad Al Rifaie on a new work Rafiq (Onley Theatre Center). Sawaf holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Arkansas and a B.A in Mass Communication from the American University of Sharjah.

Blayze Teicher.

Teicher directs queer, magical, and political stories for theatre and film. Select: The Diplomats by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (winner: Best Direction, 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival), The Virtuous Fall… by Gina Femia (The Flea), Moses by Grace Connolly (HERE), The Lonely by Andrew Rincón (reading, Amios), and Trainspotting Live (Resident Director, Off-Broadway). Teicher has developed new work at Musical Theatre Factory, Jewish Plays Project, Pride Plays, New Light Theater Project, among others, and has assisted Schele Williams (ASCAP), Portia Krieger (NYMF, 2ST Uptown), and Sarna Lapine. Her filmmaking has screened at Frameline International, Tribeca, Out on Film, NYTVF, and was nominated for Best Direction at FirstGlance Film Festival for Interested In. She was 2018-2019 artistic associate/resident director, the Parsnip Ship, a 2020 Drama League semi-finalist, and a 2020-21 National Directors Fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/NNPN. Her B.A. is in theatre/creative writing, Florida State University. BlayzeTeicher.com

Sharifa Yasmin.

Yasmin is a trans Egyptian-American director originally from South Carolina. She has completed directing fellowships with the Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, Pure Theatre, and Hypokrit Theatre. Directing credits include The War Boys by Naomi Wallace, 3:59AM by Marco Ramirez, In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist by Carolyn Gage, and an LGBTQ+ celebration of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. She has assisted directors including Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Steve H. Broadnax III, Saheem Ali, Mark Brokaw, Arpita Mukherjee, and Meredith Mcdonough. Yasmin graduated cum laude from Winthrop University with a B.A. in theatre performance and a minor in sociology. She uses these two areas of study to produce pieces of theatre that are not only powerful, but focus on socioeconomic issues and marginalized communities. www.sharifayasmin.com

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